QUESTION: Did you ever get close to losing  your invention because you did not make enough sales?

ANSWER: We sold over 2 million kits and Better Blocks had a nine-year life span. That’s because the person I sold the patents to, Kelvin, was very good at direct marketing on TV, but, to make a long term success of BetterBlocks we needed to have a presence in retail stores. Although we did sell in the Toys R Us stores and other retail chains, BetterBlocks never sold in the quantities we hoped for. So, after about 9 years, Better Blocks had run its life by direct response selling and that’s the way that it was.

This post is part of my Radio Coaching Interview. To listen to this section please click here.

Please contact me by clicking here

www.WarrenWilsonInventor.com
YouTube How Inventors Invent Inventions

QUESTION: There was “stuff” you weren’t comfortable doing, like asking for what you want. To overcome this you actually took matters in your own hands and took on some personal development?

ANSWER: Yeah, thanks for bringing that up because there is lot of “stuff” i needed to do to be successful that I certainly wasn’t comfortable in doing. I’m 55 now. When I was 28 I had quite a bit of success in motor racing but I was an introverted loner who ran an engineering business, by myself, from my backyard shed!

There was a big chunk of my life that sucked. Because I was an introvert, I found it very hard to go out and meet people. This wasn’t the way that I wanted to live the rest of my life so I started to do programs that brought me “out” as a person. Meeting people, particularly people I don’t know, was, and still is, one of the most challenging things I can do, but I also know that that’s what I need to do to lead a happy successful life.

With my kids entrepreneurial program I’m developing, I’m involved with some people who have enough faith in me and the product I’m developing that they have invested money. If I didn’t challenge myself to meet people I would never have met or attracted these investors. What I’ve found with inventors is, people don’t necessarily invest money in their ideas, but their money in the person. Can this person make their idea work? If people invest money in me and my ideas it’s up to me to do the best I can to make the project successful. If that means I have to get out of my comfort zone and speak up and do things I don’t really want to do then that’s what I’ve got to do! I’m not saying I always do it, but at least I can ask myself, ‘What’s the best thing i can do in the interest of everybody involved? That’s how it works for me. It involves stepping out of my comfort zone sometimes.

This post is part of my Radio Coaching Interview. To listen to this section please click here.

Please contact me by clicking here

www.WarrenWilsonInventor.com
YouTube How Inventors Invent Inventions

QUESTION: Is successful inventing really as easy as trying something else when your idea doesn’t work?

ANSWER: To be honest.. No! When I was developing Better Blocks I was $100,000 in debt, people were ringing me up asking to be paid the money that I owed them. I had to renegotiate payment plans with them. There wasn’t a day went by that I didn’t think “Gee, what am I going to do now?” And, I knew I knew I was not going to “make it” by doing the same old thing.’ (Just a note here, ‘Gee’ is a polite word I have written here to replace the real word I used!)  

However, I always believed in my invention and my end goal, which was that millions of kids around the world would be playing with my invention, Better Blocks. Happy kids and happy parents having fun. Visualising this end result is what kept me going. When times were really tough, I just recalled what I was really trying to achieve and I would say to myself “Okay, Warren, just put in one more effort.” It was really like that. Knowing where I wanted to go and just putting in a little more effort. Sometimes I would “score a goal” and many a time I felt like I wasn’t even in “the game.’ However life’s like that. It was during these “low times” times I would have to regroup and start again. But really, the success of BetterBlocks was all about persistence. That was one thing I really learned from Better Blocks.

Better Blocks was an okay idea. It was a building block like Lego, but my blocks moved when clipped together. I’m just an average guy that never graduated past secondary school. On my BetterBlocks journey I saw far better ideas than mine and met far more intelligent inventors than me, but many of them didn’t succeed, which made me start to think…”what did I do that worked?”   Really, it was just about being persistent! The only sure way to fail is to stop trying. I was probably a bit “pig headed” sometimes but I just keep going, and eventually, my invention Better Blocks was successful. During the tough times, that was the skill I needed to keep going…just being persistent!

David v’s Goliath!

When I did my market research, I found Lego was like the big giant in the toy plastic building block industry. Lego was a $2 billion a year company. I’d go into a toy shop and it was filled with Lego and Lego and more Lego … there was no competition! For me to enter the marketplace be the new kids on the block, (no pun intended!) was a bit of a challenge.

What I realized is that I couldn’t take Lego on head-on as a company because I didn’t have any where near the resources Lego had. But, I could develop a block that was different from theirs. It was like a David and Goliath type of relationship. I thought, ‘Lego may be big, but if I invent a block that is different from theirs, I could carve out my own niche in the marketplace” And that I did, with my BetterBlocks invention!